The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. Five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn't comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.
Obamacare prevails. Despite embarrassing reporting by CNN, Fox News and several other media outlets that initially claimed otherwise, the ACA was deemed constitutional and emerged mostly intact.
The Affordable Care Act contains several provisions critical to disease prevention and total health management. These include:
• Access to health insurance for 32 million Americans who would otherwise be uninsured
• Insurance companies lose right to refuse those with preexisting conditions
• Covering young adults under their parents’ health insurance until 26 years of age
• Covering preventive services like breast, cervical, and colorectal screenings with no co-pays and no deductibles
At Wellness Corporate Solutions, we will continue to support provisions that improve the health of the American people and combat disease. Today’s ruling has brought welcome attention to the issue of prevention and makes healthcare affordable for those who are sick or injured.
Currently, 70% of healthcare costs are a direct result of unhealthy lifestyles and we know that prevention is key. Education, awareness, and relevant resources can help improve the well-being of the American people.
In the wake of today’s decision, for many employers, it is just business as usual. Most will continue the process of implementing the ACA provisions they have been slowly adopting since 2010. For companies that don't currently offer insurance and have more than 50 employees, they will have to make the decision whether to offer insurance or pay the penalty. States will have to work overtime to get their healthcare exchanges in place by the deadline.
As the health-care system evolves, there are many opportunities for businesses and health providers to help minimize rates of chronic disease and keep costs in line. In the field of corporate wellness, companies will now be able to motivate their employees to get healthier with financial incentives of up to 30% of their health care premium. This is a jump from the 20% cut-off that previously existed and means that incentive programs and population health management services can better reward those who make health a priority.
At WCS, we will continue to provide the same level of preventative care and information to our clients as they adapt to the policy changes and institute various employee wellness options.